tv Face the Nation CBS October 30, 2011 10:30am-11:00am EDT
>> schieffer: today on face the nation, republican frontrunner herman cain. is he for real? few would have thought it. >> i'm in to win it, folks. >> schieffer: some republicans and a few comics still don't believe it. >> the number one sign herman cain's campaign is in trouble. there's a 0-0-0 chance he'll be president. >> schieffer: the idea that he is leading most of the polls does take a little getting used to. >> they asked me who is is the president of uzbekistan i'm going to say, you know, i don't know. do you know? >> schieffer: but he's turning conventional wisdom on its head with his unconventional campaign. >> romney, perry, perry romney. i thought it was a new song. >> schieffer: his campaign manager tried to explain it in a video that is, well, downright bizarre.
>> we've run a campaign like nobody has ever seen. but then america has never seen a candidate like herman cain. ♪ america >> schieffer: whatever is causing it, herman cain is the hottest thing in republican politics. he's in the studio with us straight ahead on "face the nation." >> schieffer: good morning again. herman cain is in the studio with us this morning with a big smile on his face and no wonder. you are now leading, mr. cain, in two national polls this week including the cbs news/"new york times" poll. here is the new des moines register poll just out this morning for iowa where the first contest takes place in january. lo and behold you're basically in a statistical tie with mitt
romney. you have 23%. he's one point behind. the only other candidate in double digits is ron paul with 12%. i guess the first question i have to ask you is, why do you believe you're doing so well? >> i believe that i'm doing so well because i'm connecting with the people. one of the other misperceptions about my campaign is that we just started a few months right after i announced in may. i've actually been connecting with people in iowa, new hampshire, south carolina and florida for over a year even before i made the decision to run. so my message is connecting. and people are connecting with me. and the specific solutions i'm putting on the table. snb do you think it has anything to do with maybe republicans just don't like mitt romney? maybe they think he has a good record but that he just doesn't excite them. do you think that has anything to do with it? >> i don't think that's the driving force. the last couple of days i've given a lot of speeches as you can probably tell from my
voice. but the reaction in terms of how people have responded to my speeches, talking about specific solutions relative to the economy, specific things that i would do differently as it relates to this president and this administration, they are genuinely enthused about what i'm saying and how i'm saying it. americans want to see a proud... americans want to feel a pride again. they don't feel that pride right now. >> schieffer: although people like you, the same poll has showed that a majority of americans pretty substantial majority really don't like your trademark 9-9-9 plan, your proposal to junk the current tax code and impose this 9% sales tax and 9% income tax and 9% corporate tax. you've already made a change in it saying it ought to be 9-0- 9 so poor people don't have to pay this additional tax. but do you think you're going to have to just go back to the drawing board on this? >> absolutely not.
one correction, bob. i didn't make a change to it 9-0 -9. it was already in the analysis and it was misreported that i changed it. it's just that people who were trying to attack it didn't read the entire analysis. >> schieffer: but it said 9-9-9. now you say it's 9-0-9. >> no, no, no, we're saying that we've always had a provision in the revenue that we collect to be able to allow people at or below the poverty level to pay 0 on their income if they are at or below the poverty level. we're not modifying it. >> schieffer: correct me if i'm wrong. did you not refer to it at 909. >> just the poverty piece. just the poverty piece but not the entire plan. the entire plan is 999. >> schieffer: isn't it going to cause poor people and middle income people to pay more taxes than they used to pay because you have a sales tax? i mean people go to the wall mart or the target to buy school clothes for the kids, a 9% sales tax.
>> here's where we have some more educating to do. the cost of goods will actually go down because the way 9-9-9 work is that he we take out the invisible embedded taxes. so essentially what will happen is the embedded taxes, which have been estimated by many economists on everything that we buy in this country, to be anywhere from 30 to 40% of the cost of the product. a loaf of bread. 30 to 40% embedded taxes. we take that out in that first 9 by the way it works. then they will essentially be buying that 9%. we have more educating of the public. this is why maybe some people don't like it yet. but this... we would rather take on the task of explaining it because it's the right thing to do. >> schieffer: you still believe in maintaining it is fair to put the same tax on groceries and the same tax on medicine for poor people as for rich people? >> yes because the cost of those items are going to go down.
that's the hardest part to sell. but we're willing to take on that fight. >> schieffer: i want to ask you about the ad that we just saw at the top of this broadcast. i just want to show you-- and i will preface that by saying that the person doing the talking here is your campaign manager. >> chief of staff, yes. >> schieffer: just listen to this. >> we've run a campaign like nobody's ever seen but then america has never seen a candidate like herman cain. we need you to get involved because together we can do this. we can take this country back. ♪ i am america ♪ united we stand ♪ i am america ♪ one hope >> schieffer: mr. cain, i have to ask you what is the point of that? having a man smoke a cigarette in the television commercial. >> one of the themes within this campaign is let herman be herman.
martin block is a smoker. we say let martin be martin. that's all we're trying to say because we believe let people be people. he doesn't deny that he's a smoker. this isn't.... >> schieffer: are you a smoker? >> no i'm not a smoker. but i don't have a problem if that's his choice. so let herman be herman, let martin be mart ib. let people be people. this wasn't intended to send any subliminal signal whatsoever. >> schieffer: it does. it sends a signal that it is cool to smoke. >> no it does not. mark block smokes. that's all that ad says. we have a lot of people in this country that smoke but what i respect about mark as a smoker, who is my chief of staff, he never smokes around me or smokes around anyone else. he goes outside. >> schieffer: he smokes on television. >> well, he smokes on television. but that was no other subliminal message. >> schieffer: was this meant to be funny? >> it was meant to be informative. if they listen to the message where he said america has never seen a candidate like herman cain. that was the main point of it.
the bit on the end we didn't know whether it would be funny to some people or whether they were going to ignore it or whatever the case may be. >> schieffer: it's not funny to me. i am a cancer survivor like you. >> i am also. >> schieffer: i had cancer that was smoking related. i don't think it serves the country well, and this is an editorial opinion here, to be showing someone smoking a cigarette. you're the frontrunner now. it seems to me as frontrunner you would have a responsibility not to take that kind of a tone in this campaign. i would suggest that perhaps as the frontrunner, you'd want to raise the level of the campaign. >> we will do that, bob. i do respect your objection to the ad. probably about 30% of the feedback was very similar to yours. it was not intended to offend anyone. being a cancer survivor myself, i am sensitive to that sort of thing. >> schieffer: would you take the ad down? >> it's on the internet. we didn't run it on tv. >> schieffer: why don't you take it off the internet. >> it's impossible to do now. once you put it on the
internet it goes viral. we could take it off of our website but there are other sites that have already picked it up. it's nearly impossible to erase that ad from the internet. >> schieffer: have you ever thought of just saying to young people, don't smoke. 400,000 people in america die every year from smoking related. >> i will have no problem saying that. as a matter of fact.... >> schieffer: say it right now. >> young people of america, all people, do not smoke. it is hazardous and it's dangerous to your health. don't smoke. i've never smoked and i have encouraged people not to smoke. >> schieffer: it is not a cool thing to do. >> it is not a cool thing to do. that's not what i was trying to say. smoking is is not a cool thing to do. >> schieffer: all right. you talked some about the missteps you have made in the campaign. i want to clear up just a couple of things to make sure your position is on the record. >> sure. >> schieffer: you talk good... you talk about at one point, talking about immigration, you talked about sealing off the
wire with an electric fence with barbed wire on the top and with a sign on it that said this fence can kill you. you said that. then you went on meet the press and told the host i was just kidding. this was a joke. the next day you said well an electric fence is part of it. i want to ask you do you think part of solving this problem is putting an electric fence on the border? >> i believe that solving the illegal immigration problem means solving more problems. first secure the border for real. that will be secure with the fence not necessarily electric but a fence. another part with technology and another part with troops because of some of the areas that are so dangerous. so it will be a combination of the three. yes, i said that was an overexaggeration. secondly we've got to promote the path of citizenship that's already here. we've got to enforce the laws that are already here. and we've got to empower the state to do what the federal government is not doing. i was in alabama yesterday.
they passed some laws and now justice department, the obama administration, is coming down on them just like they came down on arizona. i don't agree with that. i believe that the actions that alabama took and that arizona took to try and defend themselves and then do something about this is the right thing to do. >> schieffer: you also said at one point that you might want to back that fence up with a moat and fill it with alligators. was that a joke too? >> that was totally in jest, bob. some people getting used to my sense of humor and as i get more attention i will tone down the sense of humor until i become president because america needs to get a sense of humor. >> schieffer: that would be pretty expensive by the way. >> right. it probably would. >> schieffer: you have also said several... stated several positions on abortion. i want to get this settled for you once and for all. where do you stand on the issue that is so important to so many americans?
at one point you said you were against abortion, period. but at another point you said in cases of rape, incest or when the life of the mother is at stake you would leave that to the families to decide. is that your position? in other words, that you are pro-life with the exception of rape, incest and when the health of the mother is at stake? >> i am pro-life from conception, period. if people look at many speeches that i have given over the years, that has and will still be my position. >> schieffer: talk about those exceptions. >> pro-life from conception, period. that piece that was pulled out was taken totally out of context when we were talking about.... >> schieffer: so in other words you don't... would not even believe in abortion if rape, incest or the health of the mother was involved. >> correct. that's my position. >> schieffer: that is now your position. >> yes, that's my position. thanks for having me clear that up. >> schieffer: i want to ask
you since we're on the subject of abortion, at one point back there when the question of planned parenthood came up and you said that it was not planned parenthood. it was really planned genocide because you said planned parenthood was trying to put all these centers into the black communities because they wanted to kill black babies before they were born. >> yes. >> schieffer: you still standby that. >> i still standby that. >> schieffer: do you have any proof that that was the objective of planned parenthood? >> if we'll go back and look at the history and look at margaret sanger's own words that's exactly where that came from. look up the history. if you go back and look up the history. secondly look at where most of them were built. 75% of those facilities were built in the black community. margaret sanger's own words, she didn't use the word genocide but she did talk about preventing the increasing number of poor blacks in this country by preventing black babies from being born. >> schieffer: you would not see any advantage to having young mothers get counsel and
advice that planned parenthood could give them? i mean, with so many black babies born out of wedlock? >> there are a lot of centers that offer sincere counseling rather than planned parenthood claiming to be the centers when in fact they would rather for the young lady to come in and say they want to get an abortion and facilitate that. plenty of centers out there genuinely do that. what i'm saying is planned parenthood isn't sincere about want to go try to counsel them not to have abortions. >> schieffer: let's talk a little bit about foreign policy. that hasn't come up much in the campaign. what do you consider the most pressing foreign policy problem confronting the united states today? >> i think the most pressing foreign policy problem we have is lack of clarity relative to our relationship with other countries around the world. let's take afghanistan. 12 americans were killed last week. and then just a few days
earlier, the president said that if america gets into a fight or some sort of war with pakistan that afghanistan is going to side with pakistan. that lacks clarity, bob. if you take every relationship we have in the world, it lacks clarity. take iraq. similarly for the president to announce that we are going to do a drawdown on the troops by a date-certain, that just leaves a power vacuum in iraq. that's not clear about why we are there and it also leaves it unclear as to are we going to be able.... >> schieffer: mr. cain, it was george bush who struck the deal who said we'd have the troops out by the end of this year. it was george bush who struck the deal. >> bob, that's fine. but a responsible commander in chief would go to the commanders on the ground and ask, should we continue with this or should we modify it? so even though... look, president obama changed a lot of other things that bush
started so i don't believe that he's doing it because it was a bush doctrine. >> schieffer: do you think it was irresponsible of george bush to set a date-certain as he did? >> it was irresponsible for george bush to set a date- certain, but i believe that the commander in chief, if you have a new president, must re-evaluate the situation, and the biggest thing i would do differently is listen to the commanders on the ground. i'm not convinced that the commanders on the ground agree with that strategy. >> schieffer: mr. cain, we want to thank you for being here today for answering the questions that i asked you. i appreciate it. i hope you'll come back to see us. we wish you well down the trail. >> thanks, bob. >> schieffer: we'll be back in a minute to talk about john dickerson, our political analyst about what is going on in iowa, among other things. [ sam ] my first ride lasted just 30 seconds. another reminder of what i couldn't do. ♪
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john dickerson. you are just back from iowa. start from the top, john. i mean what's happening out in iowa and how about herman cain this morning. >> let's talk about herman cain. it's gone from a flirtation with herman cain to now we're in a steady relationship. there's a lot of forgiveness in that early period. he's had these stumbles on abortion that you got him to speak about today. these other issue. the supporters who like him because he's not a washington politician, they give him a lot of leeway because they say he's not polished. that's okay. they also like his simplicity. one of the top aides called it kid logic which is just the simple common sense solutions that others may call simplistic. they love it. for that non-mitt romney spot. there aren't any alternatives left. he's a winning character. there's no other candidate out there that those who don't like mitt romney can go for. >> schieffer: his position on abortion which i have to say is contrary to what he has stated before. he now says he opposes abortion even in the cases of
rape, incest and the health of the mother. am i correct there? >> that's right. where he got himself into trouble is when he was backed into a situation, he was talking about his position, one of his former aides, somebody that used to work for him said if you let him talk long enough he'll talk himself out of a... his own position. santorum is quick to jump on the mistakes of other. he said that's the pro-choice position. that's where he got into difficulty. you talk to voters though. they say, come on. it was a little slip. we know where he stands. stop bugging him about it. >> schieffer: that could be very important out in iowa, could it not? here is the state that has a large evangelical christian population. they are very active in this caucus process. >> it could be on that specific issue and the larger points that you were saying which is people are going to think about you as a president you need to button things up a little bit. that's the question for herman cain. this is what his opponents are hope ing is that when people start to look at him and to abuse that dating metaphor, thinking about harrying him, they get a little more serious.
there was a focus group done this week by peter hart, the pollster. he asked people, can you think of him as a president in the oval office? raise your hand. although all the people in the focus group had loved him and said wonderful things about him not a single one raised their hand. that's the hurdle for him. he has to get people to think about him as a person who can be in oval office. >> schieffer: how can that be? he's leading these polls. and yet a focus group shows that they don't seem see him as a president. does that mean that people just can't make up their mind about mitt romney? is does that mean that somewhere down the line we may see a third party emerge here? >> yes and yes. what our cbs poll showed this week is that 8 in 10 republicans are still shopping. they're in this mode where they're thinking about candidates. they don't like mitt romney. the majority of republican voters don't like him. they go for other candidates. they're searching around. they're in the searching mode. what they've found in herman cain they don't like politicians and boy does he speak to that. they love that. and so the question is how
long will they sustain that? your question about a third party. in this country people are looking in washington. you know the polls and what people think about the president and congress. they don't like what is going on in washington. so that could give energy to a third party. >> schieffer: what do you hear about rick perry out there? we have about 0 seconds. >> rick perry has got to do well with the tea party voters. in our poll he went from 30% to 7%. the way he's going to do that is by reintroducing himself. he has ads up on the air in iowa. he has a long way to climb. he's going to have to say i'm a true conservative. that's why you like me. that's going to take a lot of work for him. >> schieffer: john dickerson, thanks so much. i'll be back with some final thoughts in just a minute. congratulations. congratulations. congratulations. today, the city of charlotte can use verizon technology to inspire businesses to conserve energy and monitor costs.
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